Employee turnover has increased by 16% across all sectors in South Africa, indicating a delayed form of the great resignation witnessed elsewhere in the world.

By Jolene Castelyn, head of marketing at Ricoh South Africa

Old Mutual’s reward channel, Remchannel, revealed the statistic. Its survey also showed that 69% of employers struggled to attract new, or retain, existing talent.

Among commonly cited reasons are lack of hybrid work, inflexible work arrangements, and policies that attempt to force employees to return to offices.

Some well-known global and local organisations have implemented hybrid work models as a direct result of the after-effects of Covid-19 and newfound mobility in the workforce.

Deloitte Africa, Nedbank and several other South African companies mentioned in the media have established hybrid work policies.

In fact, news reports cite Colliers International, a commercial property business, that surveyed 80 companies worldwide and learned that 86% of managers and decision makers expect people to work between one and four days from home this year.

While the trend to convert commercial spaces into residential units existed prior to Covid-19, it has now accelerated, according to a news report citing FNB’s Commercial property Finance.

But many organisations will contribute to the great resignation, losing valuable employees and productivity with them. We commissioned research of 3,000 workers in Europe. Just 19% say their workplace has a hybrid work policy. Less than half (45%) have experienced more meeting room technology to help them collaborate. Almost a quarter (23%) have seen office collaboration space reduced.

It’s arguably short-sighted. It’s one of the things we do, helping businesses lead the change by unleashing the potential of their people through technology.

For example, we helped easyJet. They’re a low-cost airline based in Switzerland, operate in 35 countries, at 154 airports, and fly 981 routes. It’s a substantial business.

As more of their people returned to the office, partly because they miss the healthy social aspects of in-person collaboration from time-to-time, they sought to collaborate more effectively. We helped them create a structured platform for desk booking. It gives more than 1,500 employees options to select desks close to colleagues, which helps them be more effective.

We all know that even the best technology in the world fails if people don’t use it or don’t use it the way it was intended. And we know, from the type of project we did at easyJet and many others around the world, that hybrid work fails if you don’t support it with the proper policies.

Without the clarity of policy, hybrid work arrangements simply don’t work.

But with them, you gain many advantages, including a much better chance to retain your top talent and help your people be more productive. That’s great news for all of us in what can best be described as generally difficult operating conditions across the board.